Can you afford to make LUCK a part of lifting communications?
This attention-grabbing safety question was the opener for the Class II Crane and Hoist Operator Certification training held at Cochiti Lake April 25 and 26.
Eighteen technicians from the District’s managed lakes and reservoirs were in attendance.
Structural Crew Supervisor Arthur Kunigel of the Corps’ Portland District taught the two-day training course, which involved classroom and hands-on training. He adamantly said the answer to the question is “NO!” There is no way to stop a bad incident once it starts to go bad.
“Mishandling and miscommunication will allow the crane to kill you in a New York minute,” Kunigel said.
He brought awareness of the fact that working with and around cranes creates a hazardous work environment.
According to Kunigel, OSHA is changing the laws regarding crane and rigging training because, just within the Corps, there is a crane accident nearly every week. He said the training is necessary to mitigate and alleviate the crane accidents.
Kunigel stressed that communication is the key to reducing or preventing accidents. Oftentimes, it is extremely loud around cranes, so verbal communication is just one of three types of communication normally practiced. The other two are radio use and hand signals. And, hand signals must be posted on the crane or in a conspicuous place.
Some of the numerous tips Kunigel delivered were the following: 1) Never anticipate a person’s needs, no matter which type of communications are being used; just do what the person asks. 2) If using hand signals, the most important step is pre-planning. 3) Understand the purpose of each job and what each person will do. 4) If you do not understand anything - ASK! 5) Anyone within the vicinity of the crane can call a halt to an operation, if they perceive a danger.
Kunigel has been working in the crane and rigging field for approximately 42 years. To date, he has taught 25 certification classes for the Corps and has certified close to 400 employees. He said he was pleased with the performance of the Albuquerque District employees and was able to certify everyone.